The President & His Predicted Resignation


The first days of the New Year, as a rule, are never marked with special political activities. The whole country, including politicians, is seated at the feast table, enjoying Gozinaki and Satsivi, drinking toasts to a “happy future.” And exactly in light of these fun and merry times, David Usupashvili’s prediction about the resignation of President Giorgi Margvelashvili has become the latest political scandal.

The ex-Parliament Speaker voiced that he is in no doubt that in June, the Chief Commander will address Georgian citizens with the following words: “The Dream is seizing your rights to directly elect the president, I am powerless against these changes. However, I will resign, giving you the chance to once again elect the President you want to have, until these changes come into force in 2022.”

The former Parliamentary Speaker is not the first to call on Margvelashvili to resign. As early as 2014, a few months after his election, then-Prime Minister Ivanishvili urged him to do so. Later, in 2015, a group of Georgian writers published an open letter titled ‘Giorgi Margvelashvili – Saakashvili 2, who chose to stand beside the “UNM’s Talibans”, should resign from the post of the Georgian President!’

A group affiliated with the Georgian Dream began collecting signatures demanding his resignation in 2016. They blamed the President for perversion as he had been against adopting the law to define a “family union” in the Constitution.

And now, in the very first days of 2017, the resignation of President Margvelashvili has been predicted by Usupashvili. The President’s response regarding this foretelling was quite original: “First of all, to what extent is this issue relevant? Secondly, I do not have any comments regarding this subject specifically... you want the President to comment on somebody else’s comment? ...The question was asked incorrectly. I do not wish to comment on this subject,” he told journalists.

Naturally, the New Year’s impromptu by our ex-Speaker was commented on by the government. One of the leaders of the Georgian Dream, Gia Volsky, said that such a development would be favorable only to those who want instability in the country: “This scenario is ungrounded, untimely, unconstructive and openly harmful for the country, oriented towards confrontation, and by no means does it have anything to do with an expert analysis. This is favorable for those political parties and powers which have no chances in future elections.”

The words of the former Head of the Parliament also surprised his former party colleague Vakhtang Khmaladze. Current member of the Constitutional Commission, which will decide the fate of the President’s post, Khmaladze is in favor of abolishing the direct election of the President, though he stresses the timeline of the changes is far off: “Given the fact that the indirect election of the President is more typical to Parliamentary Republics and so also to us, I believe it is more acceptable; so let them make the relevant changes to the Constitution. But these changes will come about in 2018, that is, after the Presidential elections.”

Overall, the community of experts notes that what Usupashvili voiced is quite possible, though they find it too early to discuss: “In order to prepare all the relevant constitutional changes and hold consultations with Parliament, the Commission will need a minimum of 10 months. Therefore, I regard such an announcement as incorrect,” said constitutionalist Kote Chokoraia. Moreover, observers are not ruling out that the main reason for the ex-Speaker’s comments might be his own wish to fight for future Presidency.

The political year has started out scandalously. Whether ex-Speaker’s prediction will prove true is hard to say. As time passes, more and more political value will be added to President Margvelashvili, especially in the given circumstances, that is, when the political field is completely clear and the acting President has no competitors to deal with.

Zaza Jgarkava

12 January 2017 20:09